NEW YORK (AP) -- The competition to buy a small coffee chain is getting steamy, with Starbucks and actor Patrick Dempsey among those vying to become its new owners.

Starbucks Corp. confirmed that it is participating in a bankruptcy auction Thursday to buy Tully's Coffee, which has 47 company-owned locations in Washington and California. Tully's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.

Dempsey, who gained the nickname "McDreamy" on the TV show "Grey's Anatomy" set in a fictional Seattle hospital, also said last week that he wants to rescue the chain. Also in the running is Baristas Coffee, which operates a chain of drive-thru espresso stands featuring female employees in skimpy outfits.

The auction process is not public. The outcome is expected to be filed in court Friday.



Advertisement