Apple and supplier GT strike breakup deal

Apple and its sapphire material supplier have agreed on a deal to repay debts to Apple but an explanation for what went wrong remains under wraps.

Apple and its synthetic sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies have struck a deal that clears GT to sell off assets, and provides some details about why the screen maker suddenly filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.

At a US Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire on Tuesday, GT's lawyer Luc Despins said it had signed an deal with Apple for an "amicable parting of ways" that allows it sell off assets from its Apple-backed sapphire screen facility in Arizona while keeping the reasons for its breakup with Apple under wraps.

GT's shares skyrocketed in the months leading up to the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on speculation the handsets would ship with sapphire displays made by GT. The screens never reached the new devices but are still used for Apple's Touch ID. On October 6, the Apple supplier caught investors and Apple off guard by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection .

In filing for bankruptcy, GT wanted to keep the reasons for what went wrong with Apple secret, citing confidentiality agreements involving a third party which, if broken, would trigger a $50m damages penalty.

Tuesday's deal with Apple clears the path for GT to wind down the sapphire manufacturing facility that Apple had helped finance to the tune of $439m, according to Fortune. Over the next year GT will attempt to sell 2,036 furnaces that were used to grow the sapphire crystals and use the proceeds to repay Apple in exchange for no further claims against the supplier. The amount Apple has accepted to be repaid hasn't been revealed.

Investors though are not happy that they may never find out the reasons for the relationship's collapse, however Despins said it was more important to recover the millions of dollars in funds. As the Wall Street Journal notes, if the settlement is approved, GT will seek to have its original court papers stricken from the record.

Investors still may still get some relief in finding out what went wrong. Fortune reports that while Judge Henry Boroff on Tuesday approved GT's plan to wind down the facility, last week he said he had found no reason to justify sealing everything.  

According to Reuters, GT''s bankruptcy claim centres on a deal it struck with Apple in November 2013 to make tougher screens for Apple's mobile devices or the yet to be released Apple Watch, it's believed that GT wasn't meeting targets of its original agreement.     

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