Legal Blog

Letters of Intent (LOI) – Buyer’s Exclusivity

Businessman and contract signing. City view.I’ve reviewed many LOIs over the years – some we’ve prepared and others the client prepared. I’ve found that too many people view LOIs as form documents containing commercial terms. Yes, LOIs are vital documents establishing the commercial terms of a transaction. However, LOIs should not be considered “throwaway” forms in the M&A process. I think the lax attitudes relate to the non-binding nature of most terms in the LOI. Yet, there should be specific binding terms in every LOI. For a buyer, one important binding term is the exclusivity provision. Most recently, I needed to enforce this provision due to a seller’s breach.

My client invested much of their time and money, evaluating a transaction and documenting the same (legal, accounting, and banker time). The exclusivity provision protects a buyer from a seller “two-timing” them by not committing fully to the contemplated transaction and not negotiating good faith. In my instance, the seller committed to another transaction during my client’s exclusivity period, leaving my client with much frustration and wasted costs. Buyers rightly demand a fair time frame to evaluate and work with a seller to consummate a transaction. Buyers invest substantial front end costs in this regard. Fairtrade is for the seller to commit to an exclusivity period (30, 60, 90 days) to allow the parties to finalize a transaction in good faith. My client had an exclusivity period with “teeth” that allowed him to recoup these costs – and the seller did reimburse. But buyers beware. Without an adequate exclusivity provision, among other protective provisions, much time and money can be lost when a seller changes course.





Mike Mercurio | | 301.575.0332

Michael N. Mercurio is a leading attorney in the field of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He serves as outside general counsel in buy-side and sell-side M&A, as well as in all business law and real estate law matters. As a strategic partner to firm clients, Mr. Mercurio regularly counsels entrepreneurial individuals and assorted entities on the many challenges, issues, and opportunities companies face throughout the business lifecycle—from start-up to eventual exit.







Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing full-service law firms in the United States. With 14 offices in seven states, and the District of Columbia, and growing by 50% in two years through expansions in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina, Offit Kurman is well-positioned to meet the legal needs of dynamic businesses and the individuals who own and operate them. For over 30 years, we’ve represented privately held companies and families of wealth throughout their business life cycles.

Whatever and wherever your industry, Offit Kurman is the better way to protect your business, preserve your family’s wealth, and resolve your most challenging legal conflicts. At Offit Kurman, we distinguish ourselves by the quality and breadth of our legal services—as well as our unique operational structure, which encourages a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurialism. The same approach that makes our firm attractive to legal practitioners also gives clients access to experienced counsel in every area of the law.

Find out why Offit Kurman is The Better Way to protect your business, your assets and your family by connecting via our Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages. You can also sign up to receive LawMatters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.