NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The year 2014 was better for some billionaire investors than it was others. Bill Ackman's theme song? "All I Do Is Win." Carl Icahn's? "Maybe Next Year."
While a number of factors played into how Wall Street's best and brightest performed in 2014, some investments hurt more than others. Here are six stocks that really burned billionaires last year.
Sprint started out the year priced at $10.75 and closed it out trading at $4.15 to a 61.40% drop. The wireless carrier was dealt a major blow in August when a potential merger with T-Mobile (TMUS - Get Report) collapsed, leading to the exit of its CEO. Since then, the hunter has become the hunted, with T-Mobile setting its sights on surpassing Sprint to become the number three wireless carrier in America in 2015. While some believe the company could turn around this year, it's worth noting that short interest is on the rise.
Sprint's decline stung Leon Cooperman, who first bought into the firm in the third quarter of 2013. He came into 2014 with 40.56 million S shares and as of his most recent regulatory filing holds 20.55 million. Also affected was John Paulson, who maintained 64 million Sprint shares in 2014, and Larry Robbins, who picked up a stake in the first quarter.
Audience jumped 5.65% on Dec. 15, but the increase hardly made a dent in its 2014 decline.
The mobile voice and audio processing company has struggled on the market since going public in May 2012. While it posted a modest gain of about 16% in 2013, in 2014, it was wiped out entirely, the stock falling 62.20%. The billionaire hurt on this one? George Soros, who's had a stake in the company since the fourth quarter of 2013.
Linn Energy (LINE)
Linn Energy tumbled 67.10% in 2014, which will make for an interesting 2015 in terms of what comes next. In fact, the oil and gas company kicked off the year with the announcement of plans to slash its dividend and cut its spending in half -- a move rewarded by the market in today's trading.
Long-time LINE shareholder Leon Cooperman has stuck with the stock despite last year's struggles -- though he admitted his significant energy allocation may not have been one of his bet moves. He did, however, shave down his Linn Energy position during the year, reducing it to 1.78 million shares as of the end of the third quarter.
David Einhorn laid out the case for Conn's in his first-quarter letter to Greenlight Capital investors after picking up 3.3 million of the specialty retailer's shares. The billionaire argued that the "market overacted to moderately bad news," referring to the stock's February plunge on the announcement of an increased credit loss and reduced earnings guidance. His average buying price: $35.49.
Einhorn has been forced to eat his words on this investment because the stock closed out the year at $18.69 -- well below what he paid for it. In December, Conn's reported a quarterly loss, withdrew its 2015 profit forecast and announced the exit of its CFO. The stock fell 76.25% in 2014.
Mobile advertising company Voltari hasn't been an awesome investment for Carl Icahn but its poor performance isn't shaking him -- at least not yet. The billionaire purchased 678,000 VLTC shares during the second quarter of 2013. As of his latest 13F filing he hasn't touched his stake despite the company's 80.76% drop in 2014.
Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals kicked off 2014 trading at $4.02 and by the end of the year had fallen to $0.70. It sank to a new low in December. Cyclacel's total 2014 drop: 82.59%. The billionaire getting burned: Wilbur Ross.
The good news is CYCC only comprises 0.03% of Ross' public equity portfolio. The bad news is that across the board his public equity holdings, collectively, were among the worst performing among his billionaire peers in 2014.