Dealers know Bob Brockman as a tough, opinionated, hard-nosed businessman who delivers terrific dealership management software.
For years, the 65-year-old Texan stayed under the radar as boss of little Universal Computer Systems, the Houston company he started 36 years ago in his living room.
Brockman, a shy tech nerd who maintains a second home in Aspen, Colo., declined all requests for interviews after public disclosure of his plan to take over its much larger rival, Reynolds and Reynolds Co.
But it may not be possible for Brockman to stay under the radar much longer. With dealership management software in nearly 11,000 North American dealerships, the combined companies would be an industry powerhouse. Last week Reynolds filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission that shed new light on the $2.8 billion deal:
- Brockman played hardball during negotiations, threatening to take his offer directly to shareholders if Reynolds chief Fin O'Neill and the Reynolds board said no.
- Reynolds accepted the offer only after it had contacted three other companies that turned down potential merger deals.
- The new entity would be a wholly owned subsidiary of Brockman's privately held company. O'Neill would be CEO of the new subsidiary. But Brockman's future role remains unclear.
In a statement e-mailed Friday through Reynolds public relations director Mark Feighery, Brockman says his role will be further defined "after the merger goes through."
"It will most likely be in an advisory role in the product development area due to my 40-plus years of industry experience," the statement said.