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Baristas Coffee offers to buy Tully's stores

SEATTLE (AP) -- Baristas Coffee, which operates a chain of drive-thru espresso stands featuring female employees in skimpy outfits, has offered to buy coffee company Tully's out of bankruptcy protection.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Seattle-based Baristas Coffee Co. must get bankruptcy court approval to complete the deal, and a hearing was set for Jan. 11.

Tully's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October. The chain, which is also based in Seattle, was struggling with its lease obligations, high costs for materials and some underperforming stores.

The bankruptcy filing does not impact the wholesale and online Tully's Coffee business and brand, which were purchased by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in 2009.

Baristas said its bid would keep Tully's locations running with their existing employees under the Tully Coffee brand. In the U.S., Tully's has 47 company-run stores in Washington and California, as well as five franchised stores and 58 licensed locations. Baristas has six locations in the Seattle area as well as sites in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Montana.

Baristas said the acquisition would help distribute its products. It estimated that the combined companies would have about $25 million in revenue and $2 million in profit during 2013.