Web-based software and hardware retailer Beyond.com Inc is paying about $143m in shares to acquire fellow e-tailer BuyDirect.com. Together they have just shy of one million registered customers, with BuyDirect.com bringing about 200,000 to the party. But more importantly for the longer term, BuyDirect brings what is considered to be superior downloading technology plus key alliances and its engineering staff. Around half of Beyond.com’s sales came in the form of downloads last year, while at BuyDirect that figure was around 80 percent. The acquisition also vindicates CNet Inc’s March 1998 decision to spin out BuyDirect from its other services. Beyond.com is issuing 5.4 million shares to pay for the transaction, which amounts to $143.3m at yesterday’s closing price. Beyond.com closed up $1.1875, or 7.3%, at $26.5625.