GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) announced an "amicable parting of the ways" with Apple. According to Fortune, GTAT announced the deal in court filings, though Apple itself has yet to comment.
According to those court filings, GTAT will retain ownership over the thousands furnaces the company built and operated in a partnership with Apple. GTAT will then attempt to sell those furnaces over the course of the next year—an unspecified percentage of those sales will go to repay the approximately US$439 million GTAT owes to Apple.
Those furnaces were collateral for loans Apple gave GTAT to build a sapphire production facility in Mesa, Arizona. That factory was shut down after GTAT filed for bankruptcy earlier in October—hundreds of employees were laid off.
Referring to the settlement agreement, GTAT attorney Luc Despins said, "This is extremely good news for the estate. It will save millions of dollars."
Interestingly, as part of the settlement, Apple gets to keep secret documents pertaining to its agreement with GTAT. None of this settlement has been approved by the federal judge overseeing the case, and that includes both the secrecy and the financial terms involved.
Fortune noted, however, that many of the three dozen attorneys on hand for the hearing were tense about the secrecy clause. This included the assistant attorney general of New Hampshire, where GTAT is headquartered, and an attorney representing The Wall Street Journal. Both argued that the public has a right to know why hundreds of people lost their jobs in Arizona.
It remains to be seen how the judge will rule.