Several franchise holders of McDonald's Corp's German unit have accused the world's largest hamburger chain of trying to force them out of their contracts, the Wall Street Journal reported. The restaurant operators said McDonald's used private investigators and offered jobs to franchise employees in exchange for information needed to terminate franchise holders' contracts, the Journal said.

The franchisees also accused the company of conducting personnel audits to find evidence of conflicts of interest against them, the paper said in its online edition.

McDonald's could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Shailesh Kuber in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)