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Ackman's Pershing Square Holdings gains 5.8 percent in August

Bill Ackman
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Billionaire investor William Ackman's portfolios climbed nearly 6 percent in August, boosted by strong gains at drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals where changes that the hedge fund manager has helped push for appear to be instilling new confidence.

Pershing Square Holdings, one of the hedge fund's portfolios, climbed 5.8 percent last month, shrinking its loss for the year to 14.3 percent, an investor in the fund said. In March the fund had been down 25.6 percent.

Valeant gained roughly 39 percent in the last month.

A year ago, Valeant's stock began cratering amid questions about the company's business and accounting practices and its stock price is still down 87 percent in the last 52 weeks. In the last few weeks, it began recovering as the company's new chief executive officer eased worries about a possible default and the company hired a new chief legal officer and chief financial officer.

Similarly bets on quick service restaurant company Restaurant Brands and snack food maker Mondelez proved helpful.

Other hedge funds also told their clients that they scored gains in August. Jana Partners, an activist fund like Ackman's Pershing Square, was up 1 percent in August, shrinking its year to date loss to 3 percent, an investor in the fund said.

Citadel's Wellington fund gained 2.4 percent in August and is now up 0.5 percent for the year, a person familiar with the figures said.