Barrie Pearson, corporate finance specialist

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4.45am: The alarm clock is always set, but fortunately, I usually wake up two or three minutes earlier, without feeling tired. A leisurely start, a soak in the bath, breakfast whilst watching BBC News 24. I leave the house just before 6am to catch the 6.27am from Berkhamsted to Euston.

The regulars in first class have their favourite seats and manage to grunt to each other. By the time we arrive at Euston at at 7.05am, the Financial Times has been devoured and discarded.

7.15am: A taxi gets me to our new offices in Adam Street, which face onto The Strand. It is Tuesday, which means that the whole professional team meets promptly at 8am for the weekly review of client projects, which is guillotined at 9.30am. Before the meeting there is enough time to prepare for the day and a client meeting at 10am.

9.50am: The client is a bit early, but I hate keeping people waiting in reception and we get cracking without further ado. We are selling a consumer products company and the project is at the preparatory stage. A visit has been made to the premises and the client has received a draft of the information memorandum and the prospective purchaser's report.

The purpose of the meeting is to receive the client's input and finalise the information memorandum, written by one of our corporate finance executives, and to agree the shortlist of prospective purchasers to be offered the opportunity, based on a report prepared by a research executive.

They play important roles in the meeting because they have produced the work that is being reviewed. We agree six prospective purchasers who will be offered the opportunity, three of them from the USA.

The client ruled out one recommended purchaser because he felt there would be substantial redundancies, and was disappointed to find two of his &quotfavourite buyers&quot on our reject list, because both companies had ruled out any UK acquisition in the foreseeable future.

12.15pm There is just enough time to make two phone calls before leaving with Simon Cope-Thompson and Gordon Blair, two Livingstone Guarantee partners, to meet a trade press journalist who wishes to write an article about the deal.

3pm: Return to the office, and I spend the next hour handling correspondence and e-mails with Ann Wilson, my PA for the past seven years, and hurriedly making more telephone calls before a prospective client meeting at 4pm.

Patrick Groarke, the Livingstone Guarantee partner in charge of our specialist food sector team, and I are meeting the principal shareholders of a convenience food manufacturer making profits of 3m-plus.

They have received an unsolicited approach to buy their business, and are meeting three prospective advisers to find out who else are likely buyers for their business and an opinion of realisable value. Patrick is well prepared.

He has had Vicky Mellor, the research executive of our specialist food team, carry out research into likely buyers internationally and relevant deals completed during the past 18 months. Patrick has talked to three venture capitalists, on a no-names basis, who have confirmed they would be serious financial buyers for that type and size of business.

4pm: For the first 20 minutes the prospective clients are somewhat wary and guarded, but gradually they warm up. They are impressed that one of Patrick's strongest recommendations of likely buyers is the company that has made an unsolicited approach to them.

Patrick and I each give our initial opinion of realisable value, both of them quite similar, and it is obvious that the owners are a bit disappointed.

As always, we stress that our initial views are deliberately conservative, that we never set an asking price and run a convert auction with a shortlist of known serious buyers to ensure we deliver the best possible price.

5.50pm: My thoughts are wandering to the theatre. Two of my real pleasures are eating out and the theatre. I manage to visit the theatre twice every week, and this evening am eating at the White Onion in Upper Street, Islington. Then it is only a short step to the Almeida Theatre.

The play finishes at 10.40pm and my driver is always waiting directly outside to take me home.

11.45pm: Home again. My wife and I chat briefly, I open the mail, read incoming faxes and voicemail. By now the day is more than 19 hours old, and I certainly don't need a sleeping pill. Invariably, I sleep deeply and in anticipation of waking just before the alarm rings at 4.45am in the morning.

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