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Most hedge funds are drastically underperforming the markets this year. In fact, since 2004, the majority of hedge funds have underperformed the boarder markets, despite the huge bull market in stocks.

Since most hedge funds get paid based on their returns for the year, managers who do not want to underperform often turn to shareholder activism as a way to increase shareholder value and ultimately boost their returns.

Here at, we track many of the

Latest Activist Situations

for those interested in piggybacking these activist funds. We highlight a few of those situations here.

First up is

Top Ships

(TOPS) - Get TOP Ships Inc. Report

, which is getting serious heat from

QVT Financial

. QVT believes that Top Ships' board and management may have breached their fiduciary duties, and the firm called for the company to make a "substantial change" to the composition of its board.

Top Ships is an interesting dry-bulk shipper specializing as an international provider of crude and various petroleum products. With the Baltic Drybulk index at all-time highs and crude oil at record levels, if QVT Financial gets its way, Top Ships could move higher.

Another name making the

Latest Activist Situations

list is

MSC Software

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TheStreet Recommends

( MSCS). In this case, New-York based hedge fund Elliott Associates is pushing the company to "consider exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale."

The simulation software creator has been stuck in a brutal range of $11 to $14.80 per share over the past year. MSC Software has $148 million in cash and only $7 million in debt, and its first-quarter total revenue grew by 6%, led by 20% growth in Europe. MSC Software also has an additional catalyst coming up based on its new second-quarter launch of SimEnterprise and MD Solutions, an essential upgrade in various simulation projects.

In another battle, on Monday,

Steel Partners

offered to buy a 22% stake in


(CNO) - Get CNO Financial Group Inc. Report

by conducting a tender offer for the shares at $12.50 to $14 each. Steel Partners said that it believes "the board has been slow in carrying out a strategic review process and that the insurance group's return on equity needs to be improved."

Next on the list is


(AN) - Get AutoNation Inc. Report

. Billionaire hedge fund manager

Eddie Lampert

bought 1.8 million shares of AutoNation for an average price of $16.04 each. Lampert is also a large shareholder in


(AZO) - Get AutoZone Inc. Report


For more activist ideas, including


( MOT) and

Applera-Applied Biosystems Group


, please check out the

Latest Activist Situations

, a Stockpickr portfolio that tracks the latest activist situations recorded by the 13D Tracker.

Also, here are the latest activist filings from



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