Protectionist rhetoric in the U.S. and elsewhere is affecting the high-wire world of mergers and acquisitions in 2017, but not in the way many feared. Rather than dampening deals, the uncertainty appears to be prompting more cross-border transactions.

The first quarter of 2017 delivered $777.7 billion worth of announced transactions worldwide, a 12 percent increase from the same period the previous year, according to Thomson Reuters. About $337 billion, or 43 percent, came from U.S. companies buying European assets, a 10-year record.

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