In the business world, it's fairly common for firms to be swallowed up by larger competitors or, more recently, by private equity companies - making somebody rich in the process.
This may well be the long-term goal of somebody starting their own business. Rather than managing it for the rest of their life, they may see themselves growing it until they reach a point where it can be sold at a tidy profit.
The sale of QinetiQ certainly made someone rich. The ten most senior managers made around £100 million between them.
But the difference here is that they didn't create the company. In fact, QinetiQ had originally been entirely publicly-owned, and its managers were public servants.
The payment was part of a deal designed to reward managers if they helped private equity firm Carlyle increase the value of the company.
But that deal was negotiated before Carlyle had even become the preferred candidate to be the Ministry of De-fence's partner in the firm's flotation.
As MPs concluded, this meant there was a conflict of interest as QinetiQ's senior staff expected to benefit significantly from a deal with Carlyle, while their role as public servants meant they should have been focused entirely on getting the best possible deal for the taxpayer.
Ministers have rejected claims that they cost taxpayers £90 million by mishandling the sale. But the House of Commons inquiry is not the first to raise serious concerns. The National Audit Office has also been highly critical of the sale.
It is safe to assume, of course, that no heads will roll. Nobody is admitting that mistakes were made, let alone that they were responsible for making them.
But one must hope that somewhere, in private, Whitehall's mandarins recognise that mistakes were made - and have resolved not to repeat them.
The practices of private equity funds are a mystery to most people. They seem to make large sums of money for doing very little.
In fact, their main function is to increase the value of the businesses they buy.
The theory was good but the practice left much to be desired. The result has been political embarrassment which the Ministry of Defence richly deserves.