Many individuals will use the terms Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Understanding, and Term Sheet interchangeably, however there are slight, mainly style, differences. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): The main difference between the MOU and LOI is the nature of the signatories. While two parties are involved in a LOI, a MOU can involve more than two parties. Additionally, while a letter of intent needs only the party which proposes the agreement to be a signatory, a MOU implies that all the parties involved have to be signatories.
We have a saying in our firm that smooth transactions make successful transitions. Basically, if two parties cannot agree on the elements of the LOI, they will probably have a hard time negotiating while dealing with the minutiae of the purchase agreement. Normally, once the key points of the deal are negotiated up front, the rest of the transaction tends to work much more smoothly.