The Times newspaper reports Cosworth had instructed JP Morgan Cazenove to seek an initial public offering some 18 months ago, but the move has been ruled out because of the instability of the market.
"We have been paused for the last 18 months and the board has decided that we can not wait any longer otherwise we risk losing momentum," Tim Routsis, Cosworth's chief executive, was quoted as saying by the Times.
The report speculates that Cosworth, funded in 1958, could be bought by Rolls-Royce or aerospace company GKN.
Cosworth currently supplies engines to the HRT and Marussia teams and has said in the past that it is willing to stay in Formula 1 beyond 2013, when the engine regulations will change.
"We are ready to supply engines for 2014," Cosworth's general manager of F1 Kim Spearman told AUTOSPORT in September.
"Initial discussions have been had with some people, and I think by the end of September we would like to know where we are. But I don't think we have to have all the t's crossed and the i's dotted by then. It can go a little bit longer than that."