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Budget Marketing, Inc. v. Centronics Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
927 F.2d 421 (1991)


Facts

Budget Marketing, Inc. (BMI) (plaintiff) and Centronics Corporation (Centronics) (defendant) executed a letter of intent, which outlined the terms of a proposed acquisition. Centronics was to acquire BMI, provided BMI maintained sufficient cash flow and purchased key man insurance. The letter of intent included a target date on which a formal agreement would be executed. The letter also stated that, except for certain confidentiality provisions, the letter was not a binding agreement. Later, the parties agreed to amend the letter in order to change the projected formal agreement date. During the interim, BMI took steps to comply with the letter’s requirements. BMI purchased additional stores and obtained key man insurance. Charles Eagle (Eagle) (plaintiff), BMI’s CEO, invested personal assets in order to comply with the requirements. Centronics repeatedly confirmed its intent to go through with the acquisition. However, Centronics later decided to pursue other opportunities and not acquire BMI. BMI and Eagle sued Centronics for, among other causes of action, promissory estoppel. Centronics moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted the motion. BMI and Eagle appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gibson, J.)

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