Actor buys Tully's Coffee chain

New York Times News Service /

He only plays a doctor on TV. But Patrick Dempsey is about to become a real-life coffee magnate.

The actor, best known for playing Dr. Derek Shepherd, the heartthrob nicknamed “McDreamy” on “Grey’s Anatomy,” said Friday that he had prevailed in an auction of Tully’s Coffee, a bankrupt coffee chain based in Seattle.

His company, Global Baristas, agreed to pay $9.15 million for the small coffee shop chain. The total consideration, including noncash adjustments is closer to $10 million, Tully’s chief executive, Scott Pearson, said in an interview Friday.

Dempsey topped a number of competitors, including the 800-pound gorilla in the coffee world, Starbucks. The 46-year-old actor was only too happy to crow about that in a Twitter post late Thursday.

The bid is a bit of a sidestep for Dempsey, whose “Grey’s Anatomy” character is a top surgeon at a fictional Seattle hospital. (The show is largely filmed on a studio lot in the Los Angeles area.) While a race car enthusiast, the coffee bid appears to be his first major entrepreneurial undertaking.

And Tully’s makes for an unusual target. Founded in 1992, the company filed for Chapter 11 protection in October, suffering from a number of expensive leases that it has been otherwise unable to shed.

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