GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) could have had to pay a $50 million fine if it leaked information about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s products. That penalty was revealed in court documents according to the Financial Times‘ Tim Bradshaw.
GT Advanced Technologies’s lawyers apparently want to reveal even more information about Apple’s policies in dealing with its suppliers, one of which is a sizable penalty for leaked information.
GT Advanced Technologies in court
GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) filed for bankruptcy suddenly last week, surprising all of Wall Street. The company is expected in court on Wednesday for a hearing. Today though, the sapphire glass manufacturer’s lawyers are attempting to get even more information about the company’s non-disclosure agreement and relationship with Apple.
They argue that the information should be published so that shareholders and creditors are aware of Apple’s demands.
Apple’s demands “oppressive”
Last week in its court filings, GT Advanced Technologies said Apple’s supplier agreement is “oppressive and burdensome.” The news is quite surprising to investors, as Wall Street was excited last year when Apple loaned the company hundreds of millions for its sapphire glass making operations.
It’s still unclear just why GTAT filed for bankruptcy, but the fact that the company is trying to get so many details about its relationship with Apple into court is interesting. Also GTAT seems to be trying to place the blame for its bankruptcy filing squarely on Apple. Some analysts considered last week that Apple might actually be to blame.
Shareholders have also filed a class action lawsuit against the glass maker, alleging that it “misrepresented and / or concealed” its financial position.
Does Apple squeeze suppliers?
The Financial Times reports that margins at Apple suppliers are pressured, with none of them being able to see higher profit margins than Apple. Partners that have worked with the company for a long time are used to the way Apple works, mostly because they have ridden on the back of Apple as it has grown so large so fast.
Apple, however, doesn’t leave much room for suppliers to make mistakes. As a result, the report suggests that GT is the first of Apple’s thousands of suppliers to sustain such serious financial problems after partnering with the company. But even though other suppliers have so far been fine, smaller ones might be starting to become concerned.
Will GTAT get its way?
GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) lawyers are undoubtedly hoping that shining light on Apple’s demands for its suppliers, its bankruptcy case will be helped. If they win the right to share more information about the agreement with Apple, then there could be details about the specs of the sapphire it makes.
Those specs could give away details about what Apple is planning for future products, as well as costs and pricing. Other suppliers might be able to use those numbers as leverage in future margin negotiations with Apple.
Investors will also be watching this case, as judges will have to consider corporate confidentiality rights compared to creditors’ rights in the case of a bankruptcy.