Carlyle Group invested $7 billion last year, a third more than in 2009, as buyouts surged, according to the private equity firm's annual report to clients issued Monday.
Carlyle committed $3 billion to deals that closed in the first quarter of this year. In 2009, Carlyle invested $5.2 billion.
Carlyle is adding or expanding non-buyout businesses to diversify profits ahead of a potential IPO.
“The past year has been a period of exciting change and growth at Carlyle with new people, new geographies and new businesses,” co-founder David Rubenstein said in a statement.
The firm is considering an IPO, co-founder William Conway said in December. Blackstone Group, KKR and Apollo Global Management have gone public. Blackstone, the world's largest private equity company, has gained 57% during the past 12 months.
Carlyle agreed in January to buy AlpInvest Partners, a Dutch money manager that oversees about €32 billion ($45 billion) in private equity funds, to expand its asset management operations.
The firm also boosted its structured credit offerings, established an energy mezzanine team and purchased a majority stake in Claren Road Asset Management, a hedge fund with $5 billion in assets under management.
Carlyle raised $4.2 billion in commitments from investors last year, according to the report. The money was spread across six funds and co-investment deals with limited partners. Many of those funds lost value during 2008 and 2009, preventing them from making new commitments to private equity.
The firm returned a record $6.4 billion in deal profits to clients in the first quarter after distributing $7.5 billion last year. Carlyle said it completed a total of 13 IPOs in 2010 and the first quarter of this year, using those offerings to pare debt or distribute profits to investors.
Carlyle had $106.7 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, up 20.4% from the year before.
Arleen Jacobius contributed to this story.