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Letters of intent – ur praktisk synvinkel

Mellberg, Hannes LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
I samband med kommersiella avtalsförhandlingar upprättas många olika förhandlingsdokument. Parterna kan skriva sekretessavtal, letters of intent, aktieägaravtal, anställningsavtal och överlåtelseavtal – för att nämna några. Under förhandlingarnas gång skickas många förhandlingsbud och åtskilliga avtalsförslag, avseende det slutliga överlåtelseavtalet, mellan parterna.

Ett letter of intent bringar ordning och reda i en avtalsförhandling genom att klargöra parternas avsikter och sammanställa det viktigaste som parterna kommit överens om så långt under förhandlingarna. Ett letter of intent upprättas innan det slutliga avtalet och används väldigt ofta i kommersiella avtalsförhandlingar. Utformningen av dokumentet kan skifta kraftigt. Ett... (More)
I samband med kommersiella avtalsförhandlingar upprättas många olika förhandlingsdokument. Parterna kan skriva sekretessavtal, letters of intent, aktieägaravtal, anställningsavtal och överlåtelseavtal – för att nämna några. Under förhandlingarnas gång skickas många förhandlingsbud och åtskilliga avtalsförslag, avseende det slutliga överlåtelseavtalet, mellan parterna.

Ett letter of intent bringar ordning och reda i en avtalsförhandling genom att klargöra parternas avsikter och sammanställa det viktigaste som parterna kommit överens om så långt under förhandlingarna. Ett letter of intent upprättas innan det slutliga avtalet och används väldigt ofta i kommersiella avtalsförhandlingar. Utformningen av dokumentet kan skifta kraftigt. Ett letter of intent ska dock alltid ange förhandlingsparternas avsikter att förhandla i syfte att nå ett slutligt avtal, övrigt innehåll bestäms utifrån parternas krav och behov.

Vanligtvis innehåller ett letter of intent några bestämmelser som reglerar den fortsatta avtalsförhandlingen. Återkommande klausuler är exklusivitetsklausuler och sekretessklausuler. En exklusivitetsklausul innebär att säljaren förbinder sig att under en viss tid inte förhandla med andra än motparten om samma sak. En sekretessklausul hindrar köparen från att föra vidare konfidentiell information som tillhandahålls under förhandlingarna. Vid ett företagsförvärv är det även vanligt att köparen vill försäkra sig om att denne får möjlighet att genomföra en due diligence av målbolaget och detta kan säkerställas genom ett letter of intent.

De rättsliga effekterna av ett letter of intent är omdiskuterade. Huvudregeln är att ett letter of intent i princip inte är bindande som avtal, men under vissa omständigheter kan ändå avtalsbundenhet uppstå. Har parterna däremot angett att de inte avsett att bli bundna av ett letter of intent föreligger det inga oklarheter vad gäller eventuell avtalsbundenhet. Förhandlingsparterna har även möjlighet att upprätta så kallade ”orena” letters of intent där vissa klausuler är rättsligt bindande men dokumentet i övrigt är oförbindande.

Någon gång under en avtalsförhandling uppstår en lojalitetsplikt mellan parterna. Parterna måste då ta hänsyn till sin motparts intressen. Ett letter of intent både aktiverar och förtydligar lojalitetsplikten. Agerar en part på ett otillbörligt sätt kan denne bli ersättningsskyldig för motpartens skador på grund av culpa in contrahendo. När ett agerande blir skadeståndsgrundande får avgöras utifrån om den skadevållande kan klandras för sitt agerande och om den skadelidande hade fog för att lita på den skadevållande.

För parterna innebär ett letter of intent även en moralisk förpliktelse. Oavsett om parterna är rättsligt bundna av ett letter of intent eller inte lär de beakta vad som stadgats i dokumentet och akta sig från att agera i strid med detta. Detta beror på att parternas renommé kan skadas om de utan orsak agerar i strid med ett letter of intents bestämmelser – med ekonomisk skada som följd. (Less)
Abstract
In a contract negotiation a variety of negotiation documents are created. The parties may sign confidentiality agreements, letters of intent, shareholder agreements, employment agreements and transfer agreements – to name a few. During negotiations, many offers and proposals regarding the final transfer agreement are exchanged between the parties.

A letter of intent brings order and clarity in a contract negotiation by clarifying the intentions of the parties and by compiling the most important agreements the parties have reached so far during the negotiations. A letter of intent is established before the final agreement and is commonly used in commercial contract negotiations. The design of the document can vary substantially. A letter... (More)
In a contract negotiation a variety of negotiation documents are created. The parties may sign confidentiality agreements, letters of intent, shareholder agreements, employment agreements and transfer agreements – to name a few. During negotiations, many offers and proposals regarding the final transfer agreement are exchanged between the parties.

A letter of intent brings order and clarity in a contract negotiation by clarifying the intentions of the parties and by compiling the most important agreements the parties have reached so far during the negotiations. A letter of intent is established before the final agreement and is commonly used in commercial contract negotiations. The design of the document can vary substantially. A letter of intent should however always state the negotiating parties' intentions to negotiate in order to reach a final agreement, any further content is based on the parties' demands and needs.

Typically, a letter of intent holds a few regulations governing the continued contract negotiations. Recurring clauses include an exclusivity clause and a confidentiality clause. An exclusivity clause means that the seller commits, for some time, not to negotiate with any other party regarding the same thing. A confidentiality clause prevents the buyer from passing on confidential information provided during negotiations. When acquiring a business it is also common that the buyer wants to ensure the possibility to conduct a due diligence of the target company and this can be ensured by a letter of intent.

The legal effect of a letter of intent is disputed. The general rule is that a letter of intent in principle is not binding as a contract, but under certain circumstances contractuality may still occur. However, if the parties have stated that they did not intend to be bound by a letter of intent there is no ambiguity as to any contractual rights and obligations. The negotiating parties are also able to establish so-called “unclean” letters of intent in which some clauses are legally binding in an otherwise unbinding document.

Sometime during the contract negotiations a duty of good faith are created between the parties. The parties must then take into account the other party's interests. A letter of intent both activates and clarifies the duty of loyalty. If a party act improperly he may be charged for the other party's damages due to culpa in contrahendo. When an action is a tort may be determined based on if the injurious can be blamed for their actions and if the injured party was entitled to rely on the injurious.

For the parties, a letter of intent is also a moral obligation. Regardless if the parties are legally bound by a letter of intent or not they will beware from acting in breach of the terms of the document. This is due to the fact that the parties' reputation can be damaged if they are acting without cause in breach of a letter of intents rules – with financial harm as a result. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Mellberg, Hannes LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Letters of Intent – From a Practical Point of View
course
JURM02 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
avtalsbundenhet, avtalsklausuler, kommersiell avtalsförhandling, avtalsförhandling, företagsöverlåtelser, företagsförvärv, avsiktsförklaring, letter of intent, letters of intent, avtalsrätt, civilrätt, moraliska förpliktelser, avtalstolkning, lojalitetsplikt, culpa in contrahendo, skadeståndsansvar under avtalsförhandlingar
language
Swedish
id
4230776
date added to LUP
2014-01-21 06:39:23
date last changed
2014-01-21 06:39:23
@misc{4230776,
  abstract     = {In a contract negotiation a variety of negotiation documents are created. The parties may sign confidentiality agreements, letters of intent, shareholder agreements, employment agreements and transfer agreements – to name a few. During negotiations, many offers and proposals regarding the final transfer agreement are exchanged between the parties.

A letter of intent brings order and clarity in a contract negotiation by clarifying the intentions of the parties and by compiling the most important agreements the parties have reached so far during the negotiations. A letter of intent is established before the final agreement and is commonly used in commercial contract negotiations. The design of the document can vary substantially. A letter of intent should however always state the negotiating parties' intentions to negotiate in order to reach a final agreement, any further content is based on the parties' demands and needs.

Typically, a letter of intent holds a few regulations governing the continued contract negotiations. Recurring clauses include an exclusivity clause and a confidentiality clause. An exclusivity clause means that the seller commits, for some time, not to negotiate with any other party regarding the same thing. A confidentiality clause prevents the buyer from passing on confidential information provided during negotiations. When acquiring a business it is also common that the buyer wants to ensure the possibility to conduct a due diligence of the target company and this can be ensured by a letter of intent.

The legal effect of a letter of intent is disputed. The general rule is that a letter of intent in principle is not binding as a contract, but under certain circumstances contractuality may still occur. However, if the parties have stated that they did not intend to be bound by a letter of intent there is no ambiguity as to any contractual rights and obligations. The negotiating parties are also able to establish so-called “unclean” letters of intent in which some clauses are legally binding in an otherwise unbinding document.

Sometime during the contract negotiations a duty of good faith are created between the parties. The parties must then take into account the other party's interests. A letter of intent both activates and clarifies the duty of loyalty. If a party act improperly he may be charged for the other party's damages due to culpa in contrahendo. When an action is a tort may be determined based on if the injurious can be blamed for their actions and if the injured party was entitled to rely on the injurious.

For the parties, a letter of intent is also a moral obligation. Regardless if the parties are legally bound by a letter of intent or not they will beware from acting in breach of the terms of the document. This is due to the fact that the parties' reputation can be damaged if they are acting without cause in breach of a letter of intents rules – with financial harm as a result.},
  author       = {Mellberg, Hannes},
  keyword      = {avtalsbundenhet,avtalsklausuler,kommersiell avtalsförhandling,avtalsförhandling,företagsöverlåtelser,företagsförvärv,avsiktsförklaring,letter of intent,letters of intent,avtalsrätt,civilrätt,moraliska förpliktelser,avtalstolkning,lojalitetsplikt,culpa in contrahendo,skadeståndsansvar under avtalsförhandlingar},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Letters of intent – ur praktisk synvinkel},
  year         = {2013},
}