"Parties to a transaction sometimes intentionally create a letter of intent as an expression of what they intend to agree upon should certain circumstances arise... [whatever happens], the document will not be binding and thus not enforceable until those circumstances arise. Thus, the letter of intent is essentially a legally worthless document. It is not clear to me the reason any party would ever bother to create such a document and yet I have seen it used on many occasions. If parties to a transaction intend to bind each other, then they should create a binding contract, not a letter of intent. If the parties to a transaction do not intend to bind each other, then why bother creating a document that is not binding?
The long and short of the story, is that the court, after scrutinizing not only the Memorandum, but also the wordings of the press releases and other documents that Getty Oil and Pennzoil had issued over the course of their dealings, found Getty Oil to be "in breach" of the Memorandum of Agreement _ the document the parties had viewed as a letter of intent. Thus, a document (the letter of intent) that the parties had started out viewing as non_binding and unenforceable, had changed from being that, to being a final agreement! Pennzoil, on the other hand, ended up with บǒ billion (later settled for ū billion) from Texaco for interfering in its deal with Getty Oil.