A famous example often cited by legal scholars, was a case involving the Getty Oil and Pennzoil in very early 1984. The parties had signed a "Memorandum of Agreement" _ viewed by the parties at the time as a Letter of Intent _ for a complex investment and stock transaction, whereby Pennzoil would purchase Getty Oil stock, and set forth general terms of the investment that had been reached in conversations, and also stipulated that the Memorandum was subject to the approval of the Board of Getty Oil. The Board of Getty Oil sooner approved the transaction and both parties announced on January 4, 1984 in a press release, an "agreement in principle" to the terms of the Memorandum. The final agreements for the merging of Texaco and Getty Oil were signed by the parties on January 6 _ 8.
Why? Because my intent can change. I intend to buy the Empire state building, but who cares what my Intent is? Many traders and Brokers treat a Letter of Intent as if it were holy writ. This is a critical beginner's mistake. As its name indicates _ this document expresses an intent.