After having mediocre to bad investment returns, Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square is sitting on one of its largest gains of the past few years. The long/short equity hedge fund is up 25% in the first six months of the year, making it the top performer of the first half among hedge funds.

Ackman outshines other activists


Ackman has scored a good year in his largest longs, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD) and Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE:CP) (TSE:CP) and in some of his new positions including, Allergan Inc (NYSE:AGN) and Platform Specialty Products Corp (NYSE:PAH).

Other noted hedge fund managers have also done well this year, however their returns don’t even come close to Ackman’s performance. According to eVestment, activist hedge funds managed a 6.5% gain in the first six months which is just head-to-head with a gain of 7% on S&P 500.

Paulson Enhanced, the merger arbitrage fund grabbed a return of 6.3% in June, doubling its YTD gain to 11.4%, according to returns from Bloomberg. In the credit sphere, James Dinan’s York Capital gained 12% through the mid of June in the York Credit Opportunities Fund. The consistent winner, Chenavari Toro Capital was up 16% through May.

Peltz, Einhorn and Loeb return in the same range

Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners has posted a gain of 8% in the first half. The $10 billion hedge fund is currently involved in several activist campaigns.

Keith Meister, disciple of Carl Icahn, has managed a gain of 11% through the end of June. Meister’s $7 billion Corvex Management has grown handsomely in a limited time of three years. Corvex counts conquests at CommonWealth REIT (NYSE:CWH) and Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE:SIG) among its successful activist holdings.

Most of the well-known managers have posted a gain of 6-7% in the first half of the year. Dan Loeb’s Third Point Offshore Fund gained 6% in H1 after adding a +1.9% return in June, according to Reuters. David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital is up 7.3% for the year even after rising +8% in Q2.

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates was up in June. Dalio’s Pure Alpha II returned 1.6% in June, rising to a gain of 7.8% in H1. The star performer of last year, Nelson Peltz’ Trian Partners also managed a gain of 6% in the first half.

Tiger cub, Andreas Halvorsen‘s Viking Global was up 6.6% through the first six months of the year, according to Reuters.