There are two ways of looking at the price paid by National Express for walking away from its the East Coast rail franchise.
There's the relatively contained financial cost - a maximum of £72m.
And then there's the difficult-to-quantify but substantial blow to its reputation - and to its ability to win future business from government.
The transport secretary has made it clear that he's not prepared to award any further rail franchises to National Express - and if he can, he'll probably do what he can to frustrate its bus operations.
For National Express that was a price worth paying.
The £1.4bn it had agreed to pay to the government for the seven years of its franchise was predicated on revenues growing by 9% a year.
But since the contract was signed in 2007, there's been an economic event called a global recession.
Revenues on the East Coast line are this year growing at 1%. Which means National Express would have faced crippling losses if it didn't walk away from the contract.
That said, National Express would rather have secured the public consent of Lord Adonis and the Department for Transport for handing back the franchise - so it offered more than £100m by way of compensation, above its contractual liabilitiy.
But alienating Lord Adonis and the government turns out to be less of a concern for National Express than the burden of the East Coast payments.
Which implies that National Express is reconciled to becoming a rather smaller business - and possibly either dismantling itself or selling itself to another transport company.
That said, the newly appointed acting executive chairman, John Devaney, loves a bumpy ride - and he has something of a talent for extracting a decent price for shareholders when the world looks pretty bleak.