Tags: Apple | GT Advanced | sapphire | smartphone

Apple to Stick With GT Advanced Deal After Unsealing Ordered

Tuesday, 04 Nov 2014 10:27 PM

Apple Inc. agreed to follow through on a settlement with GT Advanced Technologies Inc., even after a bankruptcy judge said secret documents describing the relationship between the companies must be made public.

GT Advanced, the maker of synthetic sapphire used in smartphone screens, filed for bankruptcy last month, less than a year after announcing a supply agreement with Apple. The case has been shrouded in secrecy, and the settlement was originally conditioned on keeping a statement by a GT Advanced executive under court seal.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Henry Boroff put the deal in peril last week, saying such secrecy was unnecessary, and today he ordered the document in question made public. At the same time, Apple and GT Advanced said they had revised the terms of their settlement to make sealing unnecessary.

“Both parties have agreed to waive the condition that GT’s Oct. 8 declaration be kept under seal and expunged,” GT Advanced said in a statement.

In November 2013, the company said it had lined up $578 million in prepayment loans from Apple to buy equipment to make sapphire, which wasn’t included in the latest version of the iPhone.

‘Burdensome’ Contracts

GT Advanced filed for creditor protection Oct. 6, citing “burdensome” contracts with Apple and saying it might be penalized $50 million per violation for breaking confidentiality agreements with the iPhone maker.

The settlement would free GT Advanced from exclusivity agreements with Apple, give it control of its sapphire-manufacturing patents, and let it retain ownership and sales rights for production furnaces in Mesa, Arizona. One of the requirements of the original settlement was that details of the companies’ dealings be kept under wraps.

Apple would get an approved claim for $439 million secured by the furnaces. GT Advanced would have as long as four years to sell them, with proceeds going to Apple. Apple would also release all claims against GT Advanced, including damages that it said “would total in excess of $1 billion,” according to court papers.

Boroff ordered the veil lifted this week on all documents in the case filed under seal, with the exception of two that he found contained “confidential commercial information.” The audio recording and transcript of a closed-door hearing in which the companies sought the seal must also be made public, the judge said.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, didn’t immediately return phone and voice-mail messages seeking comment on the unsealing order.


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Apple Inc. agreed to follow through on a settlement with GT Advanced Technologies Inc., even after a bankruptcy judge said secret documents describing the relationship between the companies must be made public. GT Advanced, the maker of synthetic sapphire used in smartphone...
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2014-27-04
Tuesday, 04 Nov 2014 10:27 PM
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