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.

Bill Ackman Pershing Square Allergan

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.