A U.S. bankruptcy court in Seattle has upheld a bid by a group of investors led by actor Patrick Dempsey to buy Tully's Coffee for $9.15 milliion.
After the initial auction, Starbucks and Tully's franchisee AgriNurture had argued that their combined bid of $10.56 million should instead prevail.
In contesting the selection of Dempsey's group (that deal is now expected to close by Jan. 26), Starbucks and AgriNurture argued that their bids were not chosen because of concerns about whether Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which owns Tully's naming rights, would work with AgriNurture if it bought only some Tully's shops, reports The Seattle Times.
Starbucks wanted 25 Tully's sites, which generate about 70% of its sales, including 12 Boeing sites. AgriNurture bid for the rest of the shops.
Green Mountain, which does business with Starbucks, subsequently said that it would work either with AgriNurture or Dempsey's group.
But Dempsey's group also promised to retain Tully's about 480 employees, whereas Starbucks promised only to consider their applications. Dempsey's investors also agreed to assume Tully's prepaid coffee-card obligations.