Peter Hoffman's Seven Arts Pictures is to merge with US Internet outfit Hollywood, it was announced on Wednesday.

Hoffman is to join Hollywood Partners with a five-year exclusive commitment to serve as chief executive of the joint companies. Hollywood Partners is to acquire Seven Arts' overhead agreement and first-look deal with Paramount Studios and its library of 20 projects currently in development.

The publicly-quoted internet outfit, which acquired David Dadon's Giants Entertainment in March, will also buy the Seven Arts trademark and have first option on Seven Arts' film library of 15 completed features.

"Due to industry trends and shifts in financing and distribution of motion pictures, I believe this is an ideal time for Seven Arts to be merged with a publicly traded company which can give us more flexibility and greater opportunity to finance and produce a larger slate of pictures," Hoffman said. "We also intend to grow Hollywood Partners through further acquisitions and stronger ties with motion picture distributors."

At Seven Arts, the indie production outfit he founded, Hoffman has worked on films including Rules Of Engagement, Johnny Mnemonic and 9 1/2 Weeks II. As president and chief executive of Carolco Pictures he was involved in Terminator 2, Basic Instinct and Total Recall.

In a statement, Hollywood Partners said that closing the merger depends on factors including completing due diligence and agreeing terms with Hoffman. The two companies have signed a letter of intent.

"We are working hard to satisfy these conditions and complete the merger before the end of the third quarter," said John Coppolino, president of Hollywood Partners. "We also intend to raise the capital required to exercise our option on the purchase of the completed film library, which will provide the company with immediate income and long-term cash flow, while building value on the balance sheet."