When Apple’s annual capital expediters report for fiscal 2012 was released, it was discovered that Apple spent $10.3 billion when they had only planned to spend about $8 billion. The discrepancy in the huge change from Apple’s original forecast left some wondering what that $2.3 billion went to.
If one analyst is correct, that $2 billion may have gone to Sharp to help bail them out of their financial problems, and keep display supplies flowing for Apple’s products.
Horace Dediu at Asymco dove into the information presented by Apple and has theorized that Apple probably spent the extra $2.3 billion to help Sharp while they’re under financial distress. Sharp is a key supplier of screens to Apple, but they’ve been in trouble financially this year.
Dediu says that if Sharp were to enter into some form of bankruptcy, the key plants used to produce Apple’s screens may be claimed as assets for creditors and taken off-line. The result would make Apple more dependent on Samsung’s supplies, which is what Apple’s trying to avoid now.
According to Dediu:
“I believe that Apple’s late and unprecedented expenditure was to secure this asset. I further believe that the financing for this deal was done through a swap of “pre-orders”. Stepping even further into the hypothesis, I believe Apple arranged to move a Sharp screen production line onto its books and “paid” for it through a pre-payment of components.”
Apple has not said officially whether or not they actually did give Sharp $2 billion, but considering how much Apple is trying to wean itself from dependency on Samsung components, we wouldn’t be surprised if their were some truth behind Dediu’s theory.