Sources said Carlyle is making progress towards an IPO but waiting to decide the details.
The proceeds of a share sale could be invested into its funds in addition to the $3.7bn (£2.3bn) of its own money already committed.
The company, co-founded by David Rubenstein, said that holding more of its own capital would bring “significant advantages” to the firm as investors currently commit less.
Carlyle’s spokesman Chris Ullman said the firm had “not made any decisions regarding if or when we might go public.”
Sources said it is possible that Carlyle could file the documents to go public at the end of 2011. Other reports said the stock would be unlikely to trade before 2012.