Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Term Sheet


A term sheet is a non-binding agreement that outlines the basic terms and conditions under which an investment will be made. It serves as a template to develop more detailed and legally binding documents. Typically used in venture capital financing, it provides key information such as the amount of investment, percentage of ownership offered, and valuation of the company.


The phonetics of the keyword “Term Sheet” is: /tərm ʃiːt/

Key Takeaways

Main Takeaways about Term Sheet

  1. Outline of Terms: A term sheet serves as a blueprint for a proposed agreement between parties. It outlines the terms and conditions of the business agreement and it’s usually non-binding. It’s an invaluable tool in business transactions like venture capital investments, mergers, or joint ventures.
  2. Negotiation Tool: The term sheet acts as a negotiation tool for the parties involved. It presents a starting point for changes until all parties reach an agreement. It offers room for discussion and clarification of terms, thus ensuring that both parties are comfortable before formalizing the agreement.
  3. Foundation for Legally Binding Documents: Once all parties agree with the terms outlined in the term sheet, it will form the basis for legally binding documents. It will ensure that the final agreement mirrors the terms set out in the term sheet, providing a reference point and ensuring smooth finalization of the formal contract.


A term sheet is vital in any business or finance transaction as it serves as the blueprint for negotiations between parties, often concerning investments or acquisitions. It’s a non-binding agreement that outlines the basic terms and conditions under which the investment will be made. Key points such as the amount of investment, the type of equity to be issued, rights and obligations of each party, and the valuation of the company are all captured in this document. It helps to ensure that the involved parties are on the same page before proceeding to costly and time-consuming legal contract development, thus reducing potential disagreements down the road. Being a preliminary agreement, it gives the parties the flexibility to alter terms until a final legal contract is drafted.


A Term Sheet serves a fundamental purpose in the complex world of business finance, primarily acting as a blueprint for more detailed, legally binding documents. It’s a non-binding agreement that outlines the basic terms and conditions under which an investment will be made. It functions as a point of negotiation and agreement before parties move forward to the more laborious process of carving out full-blown, legal contracts. Essentially, a Term Sheet sets the stage for ensuring all the parties involved in the investment have a clear understanding and expectation regarding the terms and structure of the deal.Delving further into its use, Term Sheets are commonly employed in various types of business transactions including venture capital investments, mergers and acquisitions, or joint ventures. They illustrate vital details about the agreement such as information about the purchase price, the nature of the investment, the investor rights, and the management structure, among other things. Since these agreements have considerable leverage on how a deal may play out eventually, it is critical to get the Term Sheet right in the early stages. It provides a tool to mitigate the risks, imparting a degree of protection to the parties involved before they sink time, money, and resources into a transaction.


1. Venture Capital Investment: A prime example of the use of a term sheet is in venture capital investment. Before a VC firm invests in a new startup, they’ll create a term sheet outlining the terms and conditions of the investment. This will include details such as the amount being invested, the equity they will receive, the valuation of the company, the rights of the investor, and the future involvement of the investor in the company.2. Acquisition or Merger Agreements: When two companies decide to merge or when one company acquires another, often they use a term sheet. For example, when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, they outlined the detailed terms of the transaction through a term sheet. It included the purchase price, mode of payment for the deal, the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved post-acquisition, etc.3. Real Estate Finance: When a real estate developer seeks financing from a bank or an investment group, a term sheet is often involved. The term sheet outlines the loan amount, interest rate, loan term, loan-to-value ratio, and other vital terms. An example could be a developer looking to construct a new residential building. Before the bank agrees to provide loans, they’ll want to agree on a term sheet outlining the repayment terms, interest rates, and other critical details.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Term Sheet?

A Term Sheet is a non-binding agreement that shows the basic terms and conditions of an investment. Sometimes referred to as a letter of intent, the term sheet outlines the terms by which an investor will make a financial investment in a company.

What does a Term Sheet typically include?

A typical term sheet may include the price, investor rights, type of stock, investment amount, governance rights and many other important deal-specific details.

Is a Term Sheet legally binding?

Generally, a Term Sheet is not legally binding, with the exception of certain clauses such as confidentiality and exclusivity agreements. It is usually viewed as a roadmap or blueprint for future, more formal agreements.

When is a Term Sheet useful in a business scenario?

Term Sheets are commonly used in various complex business transactions such as private equity acquisitions, venture capital investments or major commercial deals. They help to ensure that all parties involved have a clear, shared understanding of key terms and conditions.

Who are the parties involved in a Term Sheet?

There are typically two parties involved in a term sheet – the investor(s) and the company. The investor could be a venture capitalist, a private equity firm, or another company.

How does a Term Sheet differ from a shareholder agreement?

While both documents outline the terms of an investment, a Term Sheet is typically used during initial negotiations and is not legally binding. Conversely, a shareholder agreement is a formal document and is legally binding.

Can the terms in a Term Sheet be negotiated?

Yes, terms presented in a term sheet are typically the result of preliminary negotiations between the investor and the company. Both parties usually review the document, propose changes, and then agree on revised terms.

How important is a Term Sheet in the investment process?

Although a Term Sheet is not legally binding, it plays a critical role in the investment process. It provides vital information for the investor to make a decision and also structures the transaction effectively. Therefore, understanding and negotiating the term sheet is crucial for any business seeking investment.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More