Durand Communications, an Internet software firm in Santa Barbara, said it will be acquired by Denver-based Online System Services for $9.9 million in stock. Andre Durand, chief executive of privately held Durand, said the move will allow the company to deploy its online education and community-building software more quickly to more users. Online System provides hardware for rural cable companies that want to provide broad-band Internet access. Andre Durand, who will remain with the combined company, will split his time between Santa Barbara and Denver, but the company's 24 employees will stay in California. No layoffs are expected, and Durand said the buyout could accelerate hiring in Santa Barbara. In Nasdaq trading, Online System shares rose 38 cents to close at $10.25.